Details Emerge in Carpinteria Cannabis Farm Raid

Details Emerge in Carpinteria Cannabis Farm Raid title=
Details Emerge in Carpinteria Cannabis Farm Raid
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Photo by Aphiwat chuangchoem from Pexels

By edhat staff

Brand Farms was expected to be the model for legal cannabis growing in Santa Barbara County until it was raided.

A new article by Joe Mozingo of the Los Angeles Times delves deeper into Barry Brand's marijuana operation and how it ties into botched legislation and approvals by County Supervisors.

Barry Brand, 57, runs Brand Farms LLC in the 5300 block of Foothill Road in Carpinteria. He's part of a Dutch family with eight generations of farming experience. The Brands, and fellow Dutch farmers the Van Wingerdens, are credited for bringing the cut-flower industry to the Carpinteria Valley many years ago. Both families are now growing marijuana in many of their greenhouses, wrote Mozingo.

Brand is described as an influential figure among the small coastal town, donating tens of thousands of dollars to local nonprofits and hosting a variety of fundraisers. He was an initial member of CARP, the Cannabis Association for Responsible Producers, which many of the group's members played a large part in developing local cannabis policy by hiring lobbyists, attorneys, and communication firms. Brand himself contributed $8,000 to County Supervisor Das Williams and $2,000 to County Supervisor Steve Lavagnino, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Then on January 22, the Sheriff’s Office Cannabis Compliance Team, California Department of Food and Agriculture Cal Cannabis, and Department of Fish and Wildlife assisted in a search of Brand's cannabis farm.

The warrant included four parcels, with only one of the parcels having a license for the cultivation and processing of cannabis. Investigators discovered off-book, or black market, marijuana sales and a small volatile extrication lab along with extracted oil, which is outside of the grower’s license and is known to be combustible if produced incorrectly.

Investigators also found 20 pounds of illegally stored cannabis as well as over 1,000 pounds of cannabis crude. That amount of crude oil would be worth between $1.1 million to $1.6 million in California if legally sold wholesale.

Brand was issued a citation for illegal possession of marijuana for sales (misdemeanor) and the Sheriff's Office stated the investigation is ongoing.

Unpermitted items from Brand's farm (Photo: Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office)

The raid has shown how local officials and County Supervisors voted to approve cannabis farms for state licensing with very little information on those farms. A tracking system that is supposed to make it difficult for farmers to divert as little as 2% of their product to the black market has been virtually ineffective as the country reportedly does not have access to the state tracking data.

Mozingo breaks down the numbers showing how Santa Barbara County Supervisors, specifically Lavagnino and Williams with help by county executive Dennis Bozanich, created a system rife with loopholes resulting in the loss of tens of millions of dollars for the county and an overabundance of cannabis farms.

Santa Barbara County was expected to collect between $15 - 22 million annually from the 47 acres of licensed farms at the time consultants ran the numbers in 2018. There are now 275 acres of licensed cannabis farms in Santa Barbara County that have brought in only $9.76 million. 

One of the biggest criticisms of Supervisors is their approval of a 4% tax on gross receipts instead of a tax based on the licensed square footage of the crop. Since the majority of growers only deal in cash and the county does not have access to state tracking data, the tax collector's office is taking growers at their word for how much they've made, wrote Mozingo. 

CARP Growers stated Brand resigned his membership from their organization after the raid.

Read the full article at LAtimes.com.

Related Articles

 January 28, 2020: Carpinteria Man Cited for Unpermitted Cannabis Grow

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PitMix Feb 18, 2020 09:12 AM
Details Emerge in Carpinteria Cannabis Farm Raid

Is there ever any evidence like this? But you will have to make your own decisions about whether she could actually be worse. She will definitely not be a puppet of the cannabis industry and let them self-certify and decide how much cash income they want to report for tax purposes.

Tellus Feb 16, 2020 01:35 PM
Details Emerge in Carpinteria Cannabis Farm Raid

As a lawyer assisting farmers and businesses across the state navigate the incredibly extensive and ever-changing landscape of California cannabis laws, I do not think it is accurate to place blame on Das Williams, or anyone else at the county, municipal or state levels for the messy roll-out of this ginormous sea-change in our policy towards pot, which the majority of citizens voted for when they passed the adult-use law. Lawmakers at all levels are trying very hard to thread a very narrow needle in an effort to bring black-marketeers out of the shadows to become legal players, and at the same time, not create a green tidal wave. Obviously some parts of that balancing act have not been perfect. But that is true for every county I have provided such help in (especially in the Emerald Triangle up north!!). And the State government, is also trying but the communications between the state and local entities remains incomplete. As a result, many of those operators that invested heavily upfront to become fully compliant have been met with so many bottlenecks and a slippery legal landscape, that many have tried to keep operations afloat with good old fashion "self-help" (e.g. skating outside the legal framework). In the end , legal cannabis will settle down as a productive agricultural option in our county, and the objectives of the communities, state and local governments will begin to click, and thereby undercut the pesticide-laden and mold infested blackmarket products. Until then, it will be all about messy sausage-making. And while our local politicians may have benefitted from certain lobbying efforts of the cannabis industry (like that is something new!!!), so has many other charitable entities through grants and giving from many local cannabis businesses. There is a way to make this a win-win situation, but it will take time.

Schifter Feb 16, 2020 03:42 AM
Details Emerge in Carpinteria Cannabis Farm Raid

Yes, Das has been a lousy supervisor...but the saddest part about this story is the fact that the authorities will probably let all that good reefer go to waste.

a-1586267049 Feb 15, 2020 08:39 PM
Details Emerge in Carpinteria Cannabis Farm Raid

If this pack of highly organized forces had not made pot legal in this state, what else would the Carp flower growers be doing on their land and livelihood? Pot farms are not the natural sequelae of the diminishing flower market. It is much more than that. Plenty of food crops still give a good return. Nope, not buying this argument Carp growers had only a choice between growing pot or facing bankruptcy. Get real. Making pot legal simply allowed Carp growers to reap lazy rewards, The growth of the vegan crowd makes growing anything vegan a winning alternative industry. The current ideological commitment of young people is the new market. So all you do give them pot instead? Sad turn of events for legitimate ag and its agrarian sensibilities. As if we are not already wasting enough land and water on wine, instead of real food crops for long term sustenance anyway in this planet allegedly in crisis mode.? What a stupid turn of events for a generation that claims it wants to be sustainable, in fact demands everyone else be sustainable, in order to bring prosperity and health to everyone. Ye they celebrate devoting our ag resources to pot? I can't make sense of their hypocrisy. Get rid of Williams. Put Capps feet to the fire, and hope she will bring this county back to sanity again. And give her a very short leash.

a-1586267049 Feb 15, 2020 03:00 PM
Details Emerge in Carpinteria Cannabis Farm Raid

Nearly one half billion dollars in unfunded county public employee pensions is the tail wagging this pot tax generating greed dog. Who let this public pension debt get so high? Throw those bums out first. Das Williams has been asleep at the switch growing this public pension boondoggle at every level now - city, state and county. Now Williams sell us out, promising pot taxes will fill the gaping hole. He lied again.

a-1586267049 Feb 15, 2020 02:56 PM
Details Emerge in Carpinteria Cannabis Farm Raid

LA Times writer Mozingo "breaks down the numbers showing how Santa Barbara County Supervisors, specifically Lavagnino and Williams with help by county executive Dennis Bozanich, created a system rife with loopholes resulting in the loss of tens of millions of dollars for the county and an overabundance of cannabis farms. Santa Barbara County was expected to collect between $15 - 22 million annually from the 47 acres of licensed farms at the time consultants ran the numbers in 2018. There are now 275 acres of licensed cannabis farms in Santa Barbara County that have brought in only $9.76 million.

Carplocal Feb 15, 2020 11:01 AM
Details Emerge in Carpinteria Cannabis Farm Raid

My apologies for misspellings in my previous post. This is written on an iphone with fat thumbs and autocorrected by Siri. For the record, I do live in Carp and i do work in the cannabis industry, which im incredibly thankful for. If it wasnt for the job it provided me i would have lost custody of my daughter. I'm recently divorced and this job provides stability for me and my family like it does for thousands of our fellow residents. Those facts i mentioned in my previous post are not my facts, those facts come directly from studies done by UCSB and the city of Carp. Please feel free to look them up for yourselves. Learn the facts so you don't vote for what's best for these rich opportunists and their developers and against what's best for local families. Here's a link to the UCSB economic impact study: https://efp.ucsb.edu/Cannabis/implan_InitialAssessment.pdf

a-1586267049 Feb 15, 2020 01:21 PM
Details Emerge in Carpinteria Cannabis Farm Raid

Das aka Doobie Brother #1, will stop at nothing to get elected. He's accepting money from individuals & organizations far from the district he's running. Check it out. "Follow the Money!" If it doesn't smell good, then ....

a-1586267049 Feb 15, 2020 07:31 AM
Details Emerge in Carpinteria Cannabis Farm Raid

Das needs money to support 2 kids. He was bought and paid for before he was groomed to enter politics in his youth. He protects his personal interests, just like Salud, another owned puppet representative. Both are really nice guys. DEM Machine is pleased.

Carplocal Feb 15, 2020 11:14 AM
Details Emerge in Carpinteria Cannabis Farm Raid

Why spread so much hate into the world? Has there ever been a politician in the history of politics who did not take political donations?? You did make one true statement however. "both are really nice guys". Don't we want good people in politics? Look at Das's entire record. He has been involved in the community for a long time and has made great progress on many issues. Dont be fooled by this one script cannabis narrative.

a-1586267049 Feb 15, 2020 07:05 AM
Details Emerge in Carpinteria Cannabis Farm Raid

BRING THE FLOWERS BACK. Nice guy Salud failed South County because he cannot lead, think or act on behalf of constituents. He should have authored a Congressional bill to add a duty to flower imports from outside countries. Das and his sloppy deals and staff choices don’t deserve your vote. It’s not too late.

Tee Gee Feb 15, 2020 06:55 PM
Details Emerge in Carpinteria Cannabis Farm Raid

9577, you make a good point. Unfortunately- and this is a personal observation- Lima beans cause me to fart. Now, I am not of the ilk who consider their effluence to not stink, and through congregation with other humans, I have discovered that many of us suffer the same malady: Lima beans=semi-toxic gas. Should you carry this observation through to the next step, you will find that there are no current regulations regarding "organic gas". Yet there are a myriad of laws, rules, and regulations regarding the cultivation of pot. Eventually- should the logic continue- the good folks with the munchies will be put-off by the overwhelming odor of ... how shall I phrase this and still remain delicate... put off by this miasma of deleterious gas. This equates to the very same problem the populace now faces, but at least with the organic odors of pot, the local grocery stores, taco stands, convenience stores, and corner stores in general stand to profit.

a-1586267049 Feb 15, 2020 01:50 PM
Details Emerge in Carpinteria Cannabis Farm Raid

Not sure why you refer to the old Reefer Madness movie, which few today have ever seen. That line comes from cannabis central casting. Problem today is real -we have seen what pot has done to too many lives in real time. Not good, get gone and take your political hacks with you.

a-1586267049 Feb 15, 2020 01:47 PM
Details Emerge in Carpinteria Cannabis Farm Raid

In our no cow, vegan future bring back lima beans. Used to be #1 crop in Carpinteria. Can't eat pot. Lima beans are the staff of life - pre-Columbian native too. Win-win.

Carplocal Feb 15, 2020 11:22 AM
Details Emerge in Carpinteria Cannabis Farm Raid

How would you advise him to bring the flowers back?? Do you think one man can change the entire US trade policy. And its not just a trade policy issue. Its a currency issue. You have to take into account the value of the dollar versus the value of the canadian dollar as well as the value of south american money. There are alot of factors at play when it comes to international trade that one man cannot solve on his own. The best solution they had to save carp's ag tradition was to bring back a flower, Cannabis. Cannabis is just another flower, although its grown with safer and cleaner practices, using no harmful pesticides. And it has been scientifically proven to have incredible medical benefits. The old "reefer madness" stigma is exactly that. An old stigma, proven by scientist in every major country to be false. Why vote against something so good for the economy, so good for the environment, and so good for people who use it as medicine??

yin yang Feb 14, 2020 08:35 PM
Details Emerge in Carpinteria Cannabis Farm Raid

Some thoughts, not on this raid: ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Das was in office when the industry became legal. Of course he's suffering for that! Whoever was in office during this giant political, social and business upheaval would/will/did catch hell for how it's handled. I really thought about Capps v Williams because I was part of Capps' original phone survey, before she declared (3 calls over several months so far). I'm sticking with Williams for a range of reasons. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- I'd like to reiterate that whoever was in office while this upheaval took place would be a pinata /scapegoat for naysayers; a focus for those who question the industry; an industry that will settle and be beneficial. That's just one of the reasons I'm sticking with Das! I won't abandon someone who's shepherded an industry I support.

Carplocal Feb 14, 2020 04:24 PM
Details Emerge in Carpinteria Cannabis Farm Raid

As a Carpenteria local and parent, I don't understand this controversy. It's sad that we are letting some Washington DC elites and their crony reporters spread lies and hate in an attempt to divide our community, and get us to vote against our best interests. Here are a few facts we should all remember in all this nonsense: 1. The cut flower industry was dead long before cannabis came to Carpenteria. Cannabis saved our local farmers and agriculture industry. 2. Cannabis has created over 6000 jobs in our community. 3. Cannabis has generated over 450 million dollars for local businesses. 4. Cannabis tax money collected goes to support our public institutions like police, fire, and schools. 5. CARP growers has donated hundreds of thousands to our local schools and services. 6. Cannabis uses no harmful pesticides. As a parent i dont want them spraying known carcinogens around my children. 7. Property values are up in Carp. 8. Hotel occupancy in Carp is higher then it's ever been. Why would any of us vote against all those points??!! Every business owner and land owner in Carp will tell you Cannabis is good for them and their business. The people who will tell you its bad are the rich who don't care about our local economy or those who want to get rid of agriculture so they can develop our small town, turning it into Manahattan Beach, and bringing with it all the traffic, pollution, and crime that come with development. As a parent, I'm grateful for the cannabis industry and the necessary dollars the industry has generated for our local schools and businesses. Don't let these rich Washington politicians trick us to vote for their interests, and against our interests by spreading their lies. If we get rid of cannabis we are taking millions of dollars out of the local economy and opening the door for developers to ruin Carpenteria's small town charm. We should be thanking Das and the other supervisors for saving Carpenteria, and keeping it the safe small town we all love, rather then vilifying them for it.

biguglystick Feb 15, 2020 10:42 AM
Details Emerge in Carpinteria Cannabis Farm Raid

That could EASILY have been autocorrect on the person's phone. Did ya think about that? Autocorrect has changed some of my words to preposterous hilarious things.

biguglystick Feb 15, 2020 10:42 AM
Details Emerge in Carpinteria Cannabis Farm Raid

That could EASILY have been autocorrect on the person's phone. Did ya think about that? Autocorrect has changed some of my words to preposterous hilarious things.

a-1586267049 Feb 15, 2020 08:13 AM
Details Emerge in Carpinteria Cannabis Farm Raid

I doubt that CARPLOCAL is really a local Carpinteria resident. This person, who seems to have no problems with spelling in general, has repeatedly misspelled "Carpinteria" throughout his well-written, albeit dubious, post.

a-1586267049 Feb 14, 2020 10:23 PM
Details Emerge in Carpinteria Cannabis Farm Raid

Thank you for your comment. I’ll be glad when the election is over and Das has retained his seat. Capps is a one issue candidate trading on her last name with far less experience than Das. She is running a totally negative campaign. I’m surprised her mother supports it. I bet her father wouldn’t support the negativity, were he alive. Das has a long career of passing many good laws. His values are my values and I will stay loyal to him through this smear campaign.

a-1586267049 Feb 14, 2020 06:57 PM
Details Emerge in Carpinteria Cannabis Farm Raid

CARPLOCAL- These issues have nothing to do with Washington Elites or “rich” people. Development isn’t the only thing that brings Traffic, pollution and crime, it comes with cannabis operations too. Regular people are being seriously impacted by this flawed process and ordinance. Plus your Favorable statements are based on operators actually following the law. ~~~~~~~~ “ Cannabis has created over 6000 jobs in our community.“ Really 6000? That’s a lot of traffic for a town with a population of 13,000. How are those 6000 new workers getting to work and how are they being paid? ~~~~~~~~~~~ “ Cannabis has generated over 450 million dollars for local businesses. “ Where did you get this number? That’s a completely unfounded vague statement. ~~~~~~~~~~ “Cannabis tax money collected goes to support our public institutions like police, fire, and schools” You mean from those who Actually pay their taxes and report their sales? Nearly all Cannabis tax money is going to enforce this ordinance. Between the extra employees needed in the planning dept and sheriffs office this ordinance will probably end up costing taxpayers more than it’s worth.

a-1586267049 Feb 14, 2020 05:12 PM
Details Emerge in Carpinteria Cannabis Farm Raid

What a seriously great comment!! There are so many positives, and negatives add up to a whine about the smell. Thanks for laying out all these great points.

a-1586267049 Feb 14, 2020 02:09 PM
Details Emerge in Carpinteria Cannabis Farm Raid

Illegal pot confiscated in the past 18 months totaled $294 million yet licensed growers reported only $167 million in legal revenue in the last fiscal year to the county. Also Dennis Bozanich now works in Contra Costa County and one of the lobbyist firms who helped craft the SB County ordinance changed their name when the heat got too much. They continue to work representing CARP and Barry until his raid.

a-1586267049 Feb 14, 2020 02:55 PM
Details Emerge in Carpinteria Cannabis Farm Raid

Did we SB citizens ever think for a second that the pot farmers were going to be on the up and up and pay their fair share? Come on now, this isn't Mars; it's the drug world only semi-legal in the eyes of the state. Fortunately, there are so many getting in on the instant ride to millionaire status that the floor is quickly dropping out of the business. Just read what's going on everywhere else it's "legal." Prices are dropping like rats jumping off a burning ship in CO, Canada, everywhere!

DBD Feb 14, 2020 04:30 PM
Details Emerge in Carpinteria Cannabis Farm Raid

One property can be multiple parcels(APN's) especially in Ag. The property owner and business entities(LLC's, LLP's, etc) are normally all registered to one APN, I don't think this is as malicious as it sounds, especially for someone who toured officials and locals alike. Can't really hide something like that when they are on your property.

a-1586267049 Feb 14, 2020 01:53 PM
Details Emerge in Carpinteria Cannabis Farm Raid

Spare us, 7004! They were legally farming only ONE of four parcels! "The warrant included four parcels, with only one of the parcels having a license for the cultivation and processing of cannabis." along with black market dealings, etc. Come on and get real and read the entire article.

a-1586267049 Feb 14, 2020 01:46 PM
Details Emerge in Carpinteria Cannabis Farm Raid

Weed growing in Santa Barbara county will eventually go bankrupt. Operating costs are high here including: real estate, labor, taxes, electricity, water, etc. Weed can be easily grown in any location. In the long run demand for this drug will be supplied by giant grows in places with low operating costs.

midair Feb 14, 2020 01:46 PM
Details Emerge in Carpinteria Cannabis Farm Raid

Just more reefer madness BS from the nanny state. Any ridiculous rules on growing broccoli? No. Treat cannabis as any other agricultural product and drop these ridiculous rules that no one can keep track off.

a-1586267049 Feb 14, 2020 01:16 PM
Details Emerge in Carpinteria Cannabis Farm Raid

So easy when it comes to cannabis to heap on the ugliness in left field comments. This thread is all War on Drugs stuff. A guy doing business in a newly legal market did something bone headed and is paying the price. It's not everything cannabis under the sun. Legal cannabis is good business for farmers and the local economy right now. Do it right or face the consequences. One wonders what this anti-cannabis energy could be better spent on.

2contango Feb 14, 2020 01:04 PM
Details Emerge in Carpinteria Cannabis Farm Raid

It's sad to see the Sierra Club has endorsed a candidate who has turned a blind eye to big cannabis growers who spew foul smelling fumes into our air and illegally produce dangerously volatile cannabis oil. It has become an organization I can no longer support.

CoastWatch Feb 14, 2020 12:31 PM
Details Emerge in Carpinteria Cannabis Farm Raid

...and WHO wants to vote for DAS Williams...? The GREEDIEST and most SELF-SERVING career politician in the County... He's shameless, whether it's the Pot Grower or the Chumash.

a-1586267049 Feb 15, 2020 07:24 AM
Details Emerge in Carpinteria Cannabis Farm Raid

The only choice again this election is between ‘bad and worse’. Nothing will change until the 28% No Party Preference moderates in SB South County organize to run and support competent candidates. Simply no choice: look at the lack of talent or absence of skill sets SB City Council.

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